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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

PABG1NA. MXT,                                                   389
at exorbitant rates of interest for any improvements the cultivators may wish to
carry out themselves; but their ears are closed to any other application,
To prevent the possibility of any individual acquiring a fixed status, leases
are never given but for very short periods ; accumulation of arrears of rent
is encouraged for the three years that the law allows, when immediate action
is taken for the recovery of the full amount increased by interest; if any pay-
ment has been made in the interim, though the tenant intended it to be on
account of rent, the landlord maintains that it is absorbed in the clearing off
of the advances; no intimation is given to the patwari of the amount of these
advances, nor, as a rule, is any payment made in his presence; but after the
lapse of some weeks, when the ignorant boor, who probably did not pay in
cash, but through the intervention of a baniya, has forgotten what the amount
was, the patwari is ordered to write a receipt for such and such a sum? and
this document is accepted by the stolid clown without a question—ordinarily
without even hearing it read—and is at once put away and either lost or
eaten by white, ants, while the counter-part remains as legal evidence against
him.   To increase the  confusion, the rent is collected not only without
adequate witnesses or any written memorandum, but also at any odd time
. aud by a variety of different persons, who are ignorant of each other's proceed-
ings ; the agents are changed every six months or so, and (as the patwari can
only read Hindi) are* by preference people who know only the Persian
character.    The result is, that any adjustment of accounts is  absolutely
impossible; the patwari, the agents, and the tenants, are all equally at fault,
and the latter are solely dependent on the mercy of the landlord, -who, at a
fortnight's notice, can eject every single man on the estate.   Thus, during a
single month of the year 1873, more than a hundred suits were filed against
the people of one village for arrears contracted in 1870,   After the lapse
of three years, the defendants—who are so ignorant that they cannot state
the amount of their liability for the present season, but depend entirely upon
the patwari and the baniya—can only urge that they know they have paid in
Ml, but (almost necessarily under the circumstances) they have no oral wit-
nesses to the fact, while the village account-books, which constitute the docu-
mentary evidence, are so imperfect as to form no basis for a judgment,   At the
same time, in the hope of producing the impression that an innocent man was
being made the victim of a gigantic conspiracy, actions for fraud and corrup-
tion were instituted against both agent and patwari, and other criminal pro-
ceedings were taken against the villagers for petty infringements of manorial
rights.   Virtually, such psendo-zamindars refuse to accept the position of land-